Week in review – science edition

by Judith Curry

A few things that caught my eye this past week.

Paper of the week:

Decreasing cloud cover drives recent mass loss on the Greenland ice sheet

Abstract. The Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) has been losing mass at an accelerating rate since the mid-1990s. This has been due to both increased ice discharge into the ocean and melting at the surface, with the latter being the dominant contribution. This change in state has been attributed to rising temperatures and a decrease in surface albedo. We show, using satellite data and climate model output, that the abrupt reduction in surface mass balance since about 1995 can be attributed largely to a coincident trend of decreasing summer cloud cover enhancing the melt-albedo feedback. Satellite observations show that, from 1995 to 2009, summer cloud cover decreased by 0.9 ± 0.3% per year. Model output indicates that the GrIS summer melt increases by 27 ± 13 gigatons (Gt) per percent reduction in summer cloud cover, principally because of the impact of increased shortwave radiation over the low albedo ablation zone. The observed reduction in cloud cover is strongly correlated with a state shift in the North Atlantic Oscillation promoting anticyclonic conditions in summer and suggests that the enhanced surface mass loss from the GrIS is driven by synoptic-scale changes in Arctic-wide atmospheric circulation.

We put forward the idea in our new piece that solar geoengineering would more effectively reduce surface melt of glaciers than the same reduction in RF achieved by emissions cuts


Fredericke Otto: When we started out doing event attribution we thought heatwaves would be the easy stuff. Turns out at least in some parts of the world disentangling local drivers and climate change is very challenging  [link]

Climate variability in the subarctic area for the last 2 millennia [link

Using emerging constraints, Brown & (2017) estimates ECS of 2.8-4.5K (66%) while et al (2018) estimate 2.2-3.4K (66%). Are these ranges too low as structural uncertainties not sufficiently considered?  [link]

James Annan on the Cox et al. climate sensitivity paper [link]

Reductions in European sulfur emissions in the last decades have probably caused the Arctic region to warm by 0.5°C! [link]

Multidecadal Variability in Global Surface Temperatures Related to the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation [link]

Biomass-based negative emissions difficult to reconcile with planetary boundaries [link]

There’s growing evidence for geothermal activity all across Greenland [link]

. & colleagues published what appears to be a solid paper on the possble impacts of the sudden termination of solar , concluding it “would significantly increase the threats to biodiversity from climate change” [link]

Gulf Stream Excursions and Sectional Detachments Generate the Decadal Pulses in the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation [link]

A very good article on the recent California fires [link]

Towards predicting changes in the land monsoon rainfall a decade in advance [link]

Some Viking settlements in Greenland are still burried under ice since the ending of the MWP. If using Greenland as a gauge sea levels had to be same or higher then now. Also lots of MWP artifacts appearing a ice edges in N Hem in last 8 or so years. [link]

Interacting Antarctic glaciers may cause faster melt and sea level contributions

Linear and nonlinear hydrological cycle responses to increasing sea surface temperature [link]

A study out last week found little evidence to support the ‘arctic methane bomb’ (clathrate-style) hypothesis, which is good news! Still a lot to learn about this, though. [link]

Sources of uncertainty in hydrological climate impact assessment: a cross-scale study [link]

Impacts  and Policy

Reckoning with climate change will demand ugly tradeoffs from environmentalists [link]

Fighting climate change? We’re not even landing a punch [link]

“The ultimate fear with geoengineering is that we’re trying to alter a system that’s much too complex for us to truly predict”- [link

Shifting from beef to poultry has a bigger absolute environmental impact than shifting from poultry to plants. [link]

Does replacing coal with wood lower emissions? Probably not. New ERL paper by John Sterman et al, providing dynamic lifecycle analysis of wood   [link]

About Science and Scientists

Sarah Myhre in Newseeek:  Science should be a feminist institution. [link]

101 responses to “Week in review – science edition

  1. Wrong link to the Viking article?

  2. Sarah Myhre in Newseeek: Science should be a feminist institution

    “Misogyny is a system in which we are all embedded. A system that rewards some people and brutally punishes others, that degrades and diminishes the contributions of some, while celebrating the mediocrity of others. Such systems are comprehensive, with physical and sexual violence at one side of the spectrum to mockery and derision at the other.”

    I applaud Dr. Myhre speaking out regarding her experiences of abandonment, abuse, and the courage for re-entering the very ecological environment that formed her experiences to pursue and further her research. Her choice of words such as: “while celebrating the mediocracy of others” seems to confuse a value system such as meritocracy. Science in and of itself with debate and skepticism likely has limited gender selection. Madam Curie comes to mind.

    Academia is now being scrutinized for its participation in shielding predators who have and still are stalking women or people of lesser power. The usual bureaucratic solution is to have power sharing, which in my experience leads to grid-lock in the tug-og-war between strong personalities. The other system not frequently employed is to hash-it-out in a group setting with each decision as to how to proceed/validate a final decision while moving on until the next group meeting. Power plays between group decisions sessions can not be avoided.

    Too often women hating and man hating feelings and beliefs surfaces to distract a discussion, and, prevents anything from getting done.

    • I think your reflex that Sarah Myhre deserves our deep sympathy for the traumas she suffered in the Caribbean at a formative age, for which she was completely unprepared and ill-equipped, is entirely correct. It is not surprising that she became completely unhinged as a result, and so due allowances should be made.

  3. Some Viking settlements in Greenland are still burried under ice since the ending of the MWP. If using Greenland as a gauge sea levels had to be same or higher then now. Also lots of MWP artifacts appearing a ice edges in N Hem in last 8 or so years. [link]

    So, there is more ice now than during the MWP, I thought so!

  4. Your first paper of the week – is the Greenland ice cap losing mass at an accelerating rate? Not according to the GRACE data:

    And like your later links show, the ice was a lot less there in relatively recent times.

    • Steven Mosher

      You should read their paper harder and pay attention to dates

      • No Mosh – The paper in the discussion says the following ” Climate warming is instead altering large-scale circulation patterns (Fig. 4 and figs. S1 and S2) (13, 20, 22, 23), which then causes an even larger response in the local energy budget of the GrIS by enhancing not only the atmospheric temperature but also the solar insolation.”
        As the energy budget of the GrIS has apparently dropped by the decrease in ice melt shown in the graph I posted, then either climate warming has declined or the large scale circulation patterns were not altered to enhance solar insolation. Their hypothesis was falsified by the latest data.

  5. Curious George

    The “predicting changes in the land monsoon rainfall” link is missing.

  6. Some Viking settlements in Greenland are still burried under ice since the ending of the MWP. If using Greenland as a gauge sea levels had to be same or higher then now. Also lots of MWP artifacts appearing a ice edges in N Hem in last 8 or so years. [link]

    Links to this article:

    Towards predicting changes in the land monsoon rainfall a decade in advance

    • This was in the news recently, so who knows? It’s not Greenland.

      Climate change melting pre-Viking artifacts out of Norway’s glaciers

      Well above the tree line in Norway’s highest mountains, ancient fields of ice are shrinking as Earth’s climate warms. As the ice has vanished, it has been giving up the treasures it has preserved in cold storage for the last 6,000 years: Neolithic arrows, scraps of clothing from the Bronze Age, and skis from Viking Age traders. And those artifacts have provided some surprising insights into how ancient Norwegians made their livings.

  7. Judith, the link for the Viking settlement article points to something else.

  8. Steven Mosher

    weirdly people think that warmer weather cause ice melting in the past, but it doesnt cause ice melting today.

  9. Jan Lindstrom posted at the end of the previous thread: “Off topic but important; vote here to set things right. Climate Etc has a pseudo science rating but skeptical science is rated as trustworthy?!!! https://mediabiasfactcheck.com/climate-etc/ .” The site looks rubbishy, I don’t know if it has any influence, but you can vote their regarding your assessment of Judith Climate Etc. I also sent them the following e-mail:

    I’m amazed at your assessment of Judith Curry’s Climate Etc site. I’ve been following the alleged catastrophic anthropogenic global warming issue since the 1980s, I was briefed by the IPCC’s Chief Scientist Sir John Hughton in 1989 or ’90 and have provided advice on the issue to the Australian and Queensland governments. At one time I accepted the need for precautionary measures while better understanding was developed, but it became clear to me that, whether or not human-driven global warming was occurring and whether or not it would have a net harmful effect, the anti-emissions programmes were not a good solution. They will make little or no difference to potential warming in the distant future, while causing serious economic damage now which will, inter alia, reduce our capacity to deal with whatever befalls – the future always surprises us, we should adopt policies which promote growth, innovation, flexibility and resilience, helping us now and making us better prepared for all future contingencies.

    Climate Etc is one of the best blogs on the issue, it has some excellent contributors. Judith is a leading climate scientist, an acknowledged expert on Arctic ice and tropical cyclones. She is not funded by the oil industry or anyone else, she has a highly-regarded hurricane forecasting firm whose clients might well, and unsurprisingly, include oil firms.

    Judith fully accepted the CAGW story, it never occurred to her that her professional colleagues might lack her own high standards. She first went to Steve McIntyre’s Climate Audit blog out of curiosity, to see what drove his argument – I recall that she had a very hostile reception from CA posters. It was only after looking at McIntyre’s evidence and arguments that she began to realise that all might not be well in the global warming camp, that the case might not be as solid as was claimed and which formed the basis of (misguided IMHO) policies.

    She therefore began CE as a place for all voices, where argument and information could be exchanged without prior assumptions as to the validity of the CAGW case.

    I find your assessment of Judith and her blog as being very unprofessional and with no solid basis. Based on this entry, I would rate your credibility as Zero.

    • gallopingcamel

      No disrespect to “Turbulent Eddie” but my earlier comment was intended for “Faustino”. Here it is again:

      “Well written and factual.”

  10. Dear Judith,

    Regarding “Impacts and Policy”, there is nothing abour the most important subject of all: is global warming more likely to be beneficial or damaging over all?

    There is an underlying presumption by most of those involved in climate science, climate economics, policy and journalists that global warming is dangerous. What is the valid basis for this presumption? What’s the evidence?

  11. Paper of the week says “Climate warming is instead altering large-scale circulation patterns”

    Funny how the climate waited until 1995 to do that. Periods of weaker solar wind cause negative NAO/AO periods at the noise level. There has been a notable decline in solar plasma strength since the mid 1990’s:

  12. Decadal Pulses in the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation

    Are much better defined through a cold AMO phase, and are shifted during the phase reversal transitions. The warm AMO phase is messy, it’s always warmer around sunspot minimum, but not always colder around sunspot maximum.

    • As satire this is not funny. As science it is not true.

    • Russell Seitz: “As a possible probing attack, he has floated an idea for a sort of climate-focused Scopes Monkey Trial,”

      Why? the Scopes Monkey Trial did not have scientific witnesses on either side, and Scopes himself was strongly motivated to show that the religious idea of Creation was false.

      Another important difference between the Scopes Monkey Trial and the CO2 debate is that there was not, in the Scopes case, a strong hue and cry for immediate reinvestment of $$$B (corresponding to the $$$T of today), and transfer from the democratic capitalistic societies to the kleptocracies and other dictatorships of the world.

      • No one has ever accused Administrator Pruitt of being on Scopes side: as the Economist piece notes :

        “Mr Pruitt says he does not believe global warming is caused by human activity and proposes a “true environmentalism”, which chiefly involves burning more fossil fuels. Or, as he puts it, “using natural resources that God has blessed us with”.

      • Russell Seitz: No one has ever accused Administrator Pruitt of being on Scopes side:

        Neither did I.

    • gallopingcamel

      Greetings Russell! As usual you present your ideas in an entertaining way. Too bad that you can’t appreciate the wonders of a more rational EPA that wants to make the USA less dependent on foreign oil, something that every president since Richard Nixon has promised but failed to deliver.

      I love Archer & Ganopolsky:
      “A movable trigger: Fossil fuel CO2 and the onset of the next glaciation. David Archer and Andrey Ganopolski……..Published in G3 Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems Research Letter, 5 May 2005

      Last year David Archer published “The Long Thaw”.

      Why do I love these guys? Just imagine that they are right………..it would our duty to mankind to increase our carbon footprint to the greatest extent possible. We would be saving the planet from the next glaciation that will reduce the flora and fauna on this planet by at least 90%. What a noble cause! My dream was to buy the latest Gulfstream executive jet but ended up buying a new SUV instead. What are you going to do to increase the [CO2] in the atmosphere?

      You will be saving the USA from the return of the Laurentide ice sheet that used to be 5,000 feet thick where New York stands today.

      It is a damn shame that these imbeciles (A&G) are wrong. Too bad that temperature controls [CO2] rather than the reverse. To better understand “Ice Ages” switch the research money being wasted on CO2 to:
      —Milankovitch cycles
      —Solar wind
      —Cosmic rays that vary as the sun moves relative to the spiral arms of our galaxy
      —Oscillations of the solar core driven by the major planets

  13. One of the quotes in the piece on Greenland geothermal activity said the uncertainty about the issue was was 100%. Thank you. An honest man. It was also suggested that since the hotspots had been around for 1000s of years, the ice streams had adjusted and by logical extension the SMB was not being influenced by sub glacial heat. But this doesn’t necessarily mean total lack of temporal variability in the geothermal heat flux. Basal melting could still be affecting glacier movement on an annual or decadal timescale. Studies of hydrothermal vents have found such variability, with one area resuming activity 60 years ago after being quiet for 4000 years. Just because hot spots have existed for 1000s of years doesn’t mean it’s been a constant level of heat.

    While the article mentioned that the deep waters in the fjord were warmer than the surface waters by 3-4C, it didn’t directly connect the 100Wm of the hot spot under the fjord to the warmer water. For comparison, a 2000 paper of basal melting in West Antarctica estimated .06 Wm Subglacial Heat. We also don’t know the full extent of hot spots along the entire coastline.

  14. Indian heat waves abstract, with warmunist Heidi Cullen as a co-author. Nothing could make the ‘religious cult’ clearer. Their observational data shows no increase in heat waves- unlike what they set out to show. Then argues is because of pollution cutting sunlight, so as pollution is cleaned up more future heat waves from AGW with more health problems. Nevermind pollution health problems now. So farcical you couldn’t make it up.

  15. Junk science can work both ways.

    Ban on Fracking is Causing Californias Earthquakes

    Keeping with the spirit of climate alarmist fake news, Ive decided to apply their best practices to the recent earthquakes in California. Best Practice #1: Start with a conclusion that supports your political agenda and work backward. I want to expose the Sophistry used by the Climate Alarmists. Best Practice #2: Identify a completely natural phenomenon, Continue reading
    https://co2islife.wordpress.com/2018/01/27/ban-on-fracking-is-causing-californias-earthquakes/

  16. James Annan on the Cox et al. climate sensitivity paper

    That is an interesting comment, and it links to a more recent comment by Annan.

  17. The AMO(C) paper ( https://buff.ly/2DHcSqL) is IMHO very interesting. They find in a model-study:
    “Our results indicate,637in agreement with earlier findings…that multidecadal trends in AMOC could have important implications for the inter-comparison of climate models and between climate models andobservations as AMOC related internal variability may contribute significantly to global temperature, deep-ocean heat storage trends and the partitioning of stored heat between different ocean basins.”
    Furthermore they stress, that the AMO(C) is not only a redistribution of heat and they describe the mechanism how the AMO(C) influences the NH and global Temps. This bolsters some conclusions of my former article here https://judithcurry.com/2016/12/29/internal-climate-variability-as-a-confounding-factor-in-climate-sensitivity-estimates/ also relating to TCR.

  18. A study out last week found little evidence to support the ‘arctic methane bomb’ (clathrate-style) hypothesis, which is good news! Still a lot to learn about this, though.

    Not to mention that in any case, compared to other causes, any predicted amount of global warming — let alone, a catastrophic disruption — of the Earth’s climate due to atmospheric absorption due to increased ‘greenhouse gases’ is a matter of conjecture and more the product of a hoax and scare tactic than a legitimate scientific hypothesis.

  19. One of the most important papers this week is the arctic proxy review by Marie Nicolle, part of the ongoing Pages2k project.

    https://www.clim-past.net/14/101/2018/

    The data presented are interesting and are being claimed by some to be in support of the jolly old hockey stick. There is a hockey stick of sorts there. But there are two problems with it:

    1 19-20th century warming looks too similar to the MWP (MCA)

    2 19-20th century warming starts too early for CO2 to be a credible cause.

    This recent warming is likely partly anthropogenic, but possibly more from land use than CO2.

  20. Bloomberg Businessweek …

    Climate Change Could Make Borrowing More Expensive
    Bondholders want to know more about environmental risks.

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-01-23/climate-change-could-make-borrowing-more-expensive

    If the seas are going to rise, perhaps lenders’ and insurers’ rates should rise too.

    • Climate Change Could Swamp Your Muni-Bond Portfolio
      California localities warn of disaster when suing oil companies. So how come they don’t tell investors?
      https://www.wsj.com/articles/climate-change-could-swamp-your-muni-bond-portfolio-1517613603

      By the end of this century Oakland, Calif., will be experiencing a “100-year flood” every week. At least that’s what the Oakland city government argued last year, when it filed a lawsuit against several oil companies for contributing to climate change. The city forecasts that rising water levels in the San Francisco Bay will threaten the sewer system and other property “with a total replacement cost of between $22 billion and $38 billion.”
      [ … ]
      Yet a recent prospectus for Oakland’s general-obligation bonds shrugs off the threat. “The City is unable to predict when seismic events, fires or other natural events, such as sea rise or other impacts of climate change or flooding from a major storm, could occur,” the prospectus states. And even if such events occur, the city can’t be sure “whether they will have a material adverse effect on the business operations or financial condition of the City or the local economy.”
      My bold.

      • The impact of hype may well be greater than the impact of climate change. Now and in the future.

      • Let me rephrase that. The adverse financial impact of hype may well be greater than the adverse financial impact of climate change. Now and in the future.

  21. Judith, comments seem down, and I don’t think it’s for lack of trolls.

    • Comment rate was reduced about 18 months ago when I implemented stricter moderation rules. Also my rate of posting was way down in 2017. I am posting more frequently (so far) in 2018. I’m more interested in the quality of comments than quantity — best is of course many high quality comments. Another change is that twitter now allows 280 characters, so substantial discussion of my posts occurs on twitter.

      • The death of the pause, and stubborn post El Niño warmth has had nothing to do with it?

      • JCH
        Attribution of recent warming to oceanic cycles / LIA recovery and/or to Arrhenius’ folly is unaffected in any way by statistical pauses or ENSO. The climate academic community are slowly moving toward realisation of who are the real deniers of [natural] climate change.

      • RE: — best is of course many high quality comments.

        Yes! There are those less credentialed and those more credentialed, that come here for both important information and informed opinion. Both sides contribute and the credentialed and the non-credentialed comment. Civil argument over both; important information and informed opinion, is what makes this site worth bookmarking and checking regularly. Speaking for the non-credentialed, I’ve learned a lot. Or not. According to other web sites. Meaning, as long as the moderation rules don’t turn CE into another echo chamber of one side I’ll continue to return, as I’m sure most will.

        To be deleted: less cat fights/p@#*g contests, and ‘here we go again’ arguments from the same ‘ol, same ‘ol, really get tiresome. As I’m sure you’re aware of and have tried to eliminate.

      • Is there any way to post twitter discussion here?

        I’m told that I’m too old to pick up another skill.

    • Steven Mosher

      when some people comment they generate many responses. amplifiers.
      people like theatre. certain actors draw crowds. other actors drone on post after post with the same monologue.

  22. >>>>Some Viking settlements in Greenland are still burried under ice since the ending of the MWP.

    Is this report a mixup of this paper;
    http://www.newsweek.com/archaeologists-rescue-thousands-rare-iron-and-bronze-age-artifacts-climate-788771

    • It is an interesting report. Precisely I am writing about ice patch archeology for the next Nature Unbound article. It is highly relevant for Modern Global Warming.

    • It appears the article is not about Greenland settlements emerging from the ice, or Greenland at all.

    • nobodysknowledge

      “Lithostratigraphic and paleobotanical studies suggest that the Jostedalsbreen ice cap probably disappeared during the early Holocene Hypsithermal interval (ca. 8000-6000 B.P.) and re-formed about 5300 B.P. The equilibrium-line altitude was lower than the modern mean equilibrium-line altitude between 2595 ±85 and 2360 ±80 B.P., between 2250 ±65 and 2150 ±80 B.P., between 1740 ±75 and 1730 ±75 B.P., between 1430 ±45 and 1270 ±60 B.P., and subsequent to 890 ±60 B.P. The outlet valley glaciers reached their maximum Neoglacial extent during the Little Ice Age in the middle of the eighteenth century.” Norway`s largest glacier gone away.
      From:Holocene glacier and climate variations in western Norway: Evidence for early Holocene glacier demise and multiple Neoglacial events
      Atle Nesje Mons Kvamme. Geology (1991)

  23. As a result of the link above to the AMOC study, I’ve been reading a few papers on the AABW and NADW and the thermohaline and the overturning circulation on timescales of up to 1,000 to 2,000 years. Given this background and discussions of other oscillations greater than 1,000 years, I continue to be amazed at how many authors themselves are amazed at the results of their work when they are looking at only a couple of decades of their data. Hardly ever does it get placed into a millennial context. I’ve noticed this over the last several years of reviewing a wide variety of climate research papers. It seems they are focused on one paradigm and their entire scientific inquisitiveness is so constrained by one world view that the very long term processes are blocked from their thought process.

    The prevailing mindset in climate science screams out for social psychological case studies in the next few decades. Get them on the couch and ask “Ok, what were you really thinking?” My bet is that it won’t happen.

    • +100
      The crazy thing is that in the field of oceanography there is deep knowledge of millenial scale ocean-driven climate oscillation and change. Just look at all the work on the Younger Dryas and Holocene inception, Antarctic sheet collapse, cold reversal etc. And yet just over an academic fence is the whole CO2 climate change community sterile of any inkling of these natural long term ocean driven changes. Unbelievable but true. The use of the term “pre-industrial” is an embarrassment to our generation that will never go away.

    • The AGW paradigm is weakened if the (natural) climate change is included, so it has to be ignored and denied. Like a drunk man searching for his lost keys under the streetlight, because it’s where the light is, not because they could be there.

      And they wonder why skeptics are not convinced!

  24. http://www.cfact.org/2018/01/28/last-chance-to-comment-on-the-national-climate-assessment/

    “Midnight EST on Wednesday is the deadline for commenting on the wildly alarmist draft National Climate Assessment. As I explained earlier this month here, commenting is pretty easy. Registration is simple and the commenting website works well.”

    “Here” refers to here:
    http://www.cfact.org/2018/01/01/comment-now-on-the-draft-national-climate-assessment/

    Be there or be square.

    • gallopingcamel

      The NCA is a political document that uses science to cover a loony political agenda. It is fruitless to comment no matter how easy it is. The only way to cure stupidity is to stop funding it.

  25. “He said there could be up to one million tonnes of grain deemed unsuitable for milling because of sprouting or damage.” https://www.weeklytimesnow.com.au/agribusiness/grain-quality-price-hit-with-predictions-of-wheat-downgrade-due-to-wet-weather/news-story/a5cb4cf8eb5516f6637e082909a70b9e

    The World Resources post repeats the memes that meat is bad for the planet and food security. The memes are based on heroic assumptions that the land required for meat production can be used for growing crops for direct human consumption.

    Chickens consume about 5% of the Australian grain crop – but this is not food that might otherwise be used directly by people. It includes the leftovers from oil processing or beef rendering. Thus waste is very efficiently converted into a valuable and tasty protein source. My fried chicken is to die for.

    The global land area is 13 billion hectares. Of that 5 billion hectares – 38% of the total – is agricultural. Cropping is some 28% of agricultural land, orchards 3% and grazing 69%. Cropping and orchards provides staples and nutrients – as well as culinary diversity. Grazing animals convert otherwise unusable resources on marginal lands into important sources of protein.

    Modern farming methods are sequestering carbon dioxide. It is still relatively early days – but methodologies are evolving and data is accumulating. Agriculture is a solution rather than a problem.

    • Robert I. Ellison

      “Grazing animals convert otherwise unusable resources on marginal lands into important sources of protein.”

      In my youth, I stayed for a while at the -T- ranch near Winslow Az, a ranch of 300,000 acres with 3,000 head of cattle. The terrain was flat rock table top mesa, and, as the name implies, the surface was flat rock with grass growing between the rocks on which the cattle fed. At the time, the scrub brush was being cleared by a one inch thick cable strung between two D-9 Catapillar tractors dragged along the rock surface to clear water gobbling scrub trees which were then stacked, dried and burned. A hybrid grass with twelve shoots/seed was planted to replace the native one shoot grass. Years later, a reminiscing trip down old Route 66 brought me back to this cattle country and the still working -T- ranch. What I noticed was that in areas grazed for a while, sagebrush had replaced a lot of the grass. It seemed to me, the area was due for another mesa rock cable scrub and replanting. A cowboy’s work is never done.

    • If meat consumption were ended, the amount of land required to replace those nutrients/calories is much smaller than the amount of land required to grain feed animals for meat consumption. What would become of the grain belt if they no longer were being paid to raise grain to feed to animals intended for eventual consumption by humans? Much of it would revert to grass prairie and forest land unless motor fuel users were to be required to use a much higher percentage of ethanol.

      • 15 year soil bank growing grass for cattle to graze. Studies can probably be found to say that the cattle add more to the soil than they take from it.

      • If 90,000,000 USA acres of corn are planted, around 900,000 acreswill be sweet corn: on the cob, canned, frozen, etc.

      • Ragnaar – go to your local grocery store. Tell us the percentage of beef that is for sale that was finished on grass: labelled grass fed.

      • JCH what you are saying might be relevant for the mid west USA, but that is not the world and it is absolute garbage for here in New Zealand. We export most of our meat production. Most of the meat is grown on rolling to steep hill country that would be impossible to grow crops on. So that land would be lost for agriculture if it wasn’t grazed. And the alternative protein sources need a lot more fuel consumption to produce.There is some grain finishing, but that is because overseas markets want it, not liking the taste of grass fed beef. I don’t think any sheepmeat is fed grain and that is a bigger supply.

      • You will not be selling beef if people stop eating it. If people stop eating beef, carrots and potatoes will not be grazing in your pastures. in general, pasture is pasture because of reasons, with poor soil usually the leading..

      • People won’t stop eating beef unless they become too poor to buy it. The first things that happen in third world countries when their income goes up is their meat consumption also goes up. And have McDonalds sales gone down?
        And for a variety of reasons, mainly trace element enhancement, NZ pasture is better now than it was two hundred years ago.

      • About 40% of US corn I am informed is used for ethanol, 40% for animal feed, some few percent is consumed mostly as corn syrup and the rest exported. It is a high productivity but low quality crop.

        Animals can usefully be integrated into cropping systems but for the most part subsist on perennial grasses or shrubs on more marginal land. Grass fed beef is healthier both for the cow and us. Cage free chickens and free range pigs are ethical choices I always make.

        We feed grain to animals that does not for any of a number of reasons achieve a millable grade. This is conversion of a waste to a food resource as I said.

      • The vegan movement is now turning ugly, with harassment and death threats to farmers and students of agriculture:

        http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-42833132

      • Before my father’s generation converted America to being a predominately beef eating nation by, among other tactics, getting grocery stores to agree to stock only corn-fed beef, this was a pork eating nation. If Americans were forced to eat the meat their ancestors ate, they would gag on it.

      • Grains & fructose are the two largest problems with the American diet, so, more disease, not utopia, awaits by getting rid of livestock, especially grass fed livestock.

        That said, 60 grams a day is sufficient, and fats/vegetables/fiber should complement that.

      • If you think you read I am advocating not eating meat, you are wrong.

      • JCH: “What would become of the grain belt if they no longer were being paid to raise grain to feed to animals intended for eventual consumption by humans? Much of it would revert to grass prairie and forest land unless motor fuel users were to be required to use a much higher percentage of ethanol … Before my father’s generation converted America to being a predominately beef eating nation”

        1) Where’s the beef? Chicken won the protein wars circa 1980. The U.S. is the worlds largest producer of chicken by far, its production continues to rise. Americans eat more chicken than anyone else in the world. The U.S. has the largest broiler chicken industry in the world, from 16-20 percent of production is exported to other countries in any given year.

        2) For developed nations, land has already been returning to nature for decades in spite of increasing meat production (efficiency in chickens), resulting in a doubling of forest area in the last 100 years for most developed nations. This is a result of land use efficiencies and technology to produce better crop yields. For example, corn in the U.S. has quintupled since 1940, and no more land was used to do it. Also the inputs, fertilizer and other, to achieve exponential yields reached peak use circa 1980.

        3) You want more land for nature, yet the Left LOVES to support ethanol fuel subsidies that supports more corn production! The Left blocked efforts during the Obama administration to eliminate $6 billion worth of ethanol subsidies. FYI, twice as much corn is fed to autos as livestock, and a chicken gets 60 miles per gallon to boot; better than a Prius! Also, as RIE stated, a good amount of grain fed to livestock isn’t fit for human consumption anyway, use it or lose it.

      • Typo, roughly equal amounts of corn goes towards producing ethanol as is fed to animals. https://thebreakthrough.org/index.php/journal/past-issues/issue-5/the-return-of-nature

      • Couple of good articles I happened on recently.

        CO2 increases nitrogen fixing in legumes. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5603704/

        And seeds of plants grown in elevated CO2 generally germinate earlier and more successfully.
        http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/nph.12691/full

  26. JCH:

    We do have a few cattle eating grass in Minnesota. You are correct, they taste different than corn fed cattle. We have advanced since the switch to corn fed. One doesn’t need the same quality meat for a McDonald’s burger and a great T-bone. My suggestion was to sink some carbon and restore soil, while having a little more revenue from cattle. Soil banking should appeal to the hippies and I’d argue there are spin off benefits. The Democrats may support it in an attempt to steal back some red states.

    • At the peak, we ran 90,000 head of cattle through our chutes. I know a little about the subject.

      In 1997 my family vacationed in Australia. We were there because my Dad had been invited to speak at a convention of Australian cattle producers. I bought my son, then 10, his favorite, a bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit, at a McDonalds in Sydney. He took one bite and spit it out. For the rest of the trip my kids tried a couple of more times to eat at McDonalds, and finally refused to go there.

      • JCH:
        In this area, you know more than I do. There’s also canned soups containing meat.
        Guadalaharry’s used to use canned beef from Argentina to make their beef tacos. I thought they were quite tasty. Went into their beef flautas and enchiladas as well.
        The idea is to try things with possible benefits in a few areas.

      • Argentina exports both grass-fed and grain-fed beef. They also supposedly have a very high quality grass. The county where I own a farm has very high quality grass. When my Grandmother purchased that farm in the 1920s, it is claimed that county had the highest number of cattle of any county is the USA. I have always wondered why. Their grass fed may have tasted better than beef from areas with poor grass. Don’t know. In the age of corn, they have fewer cattle in the county, but also raise a huge corn crop.

        In the past you have mentioned soy rotation. I was reluctant to mention it as I do not know the mixes used today, but when I was a kid we also fed a lot of soy. For a brief time I think we also mixed in sugar beets. That was probably an experiment. Long time ago.

        We have vast amounts of arable land in the US. A fairly low percentage of it actually grows plants that are directly eaten by human beings. So, if we were to go strictly non-meat, the number of additional acres needed to make up the lost calories and nutrition is not as a large as the acres required to feed livestock for human consumption. It would then come down to how farmers could use that land, and stock for plant-based motor fuel is an obvious possibility.

      • Curious George

        Bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit. How much beef is in it?

      • Okay, I will try to draw a picture. How much American pig was in it?

    • McDonalds uses corn-fed beef. It would economic suicide for them to switch to grass-fed beef in the sense you mean: herds wandering around munching grass in beautiful pastures and then being shipped to slaughter houses.

      Feedlots exist for reasons.

      • Jch

        I am a vegetarian but as far as I am aware our cattle in the uk is fed entirely on grass plus supplements and would be kept outside all year round.

        When you say corn fed, do you mean corn on the cob? are they fed in troughs in fields or in barns? I have heard of cattle lots but do not know what they are

        Tonyb

      • There are very few farmers in the UK finishing their animals exclusively on grass and nutrient dense pasture crops like red clover and lucerne. The only recognised certification program for ‘grass-fed’ or ‘pasture-fed’ meat is operated by the Pasture Fed Livestock Association and they are working hard to get more farmers on board to sell under their label ‘pasture for life’. The chances are if it is not certified your local farmer will in fact be finishing his ‘local grass-fed meat’ on grains!

        In the US, for instance, most grass-fed beef is finished in lots and fed pellets. What is in them? I don’t know. The average meat department in a US grocery store has a tiny amount of grass-fed beef.

      • Around 98+% of all corn raised in the US, and we raise a gigantic amount of the stuff, is dent corn. Humans would spit it out. If you feed livestock corn, and the livestock will get fat very fast. For the same reason, it is a reasonable alternative to sugarcane as a stock for ethanol. High energy content.

        A feedlot is essentially a factory, large pens holding high numbers of cattle, where young animals that are not going to go into a reproductive role are fattened, fed corn and other fattening stuff, as quickly as possible for human consumption.

      • Feedlot outside of Amarillo, Texas:

    • Climate and solutions or what we get that kind of look like solutions are complex. I am pro-chicken and turkey consumption. These birds are more efficient than cattle and without proof, I think the more healthy choice. And I believe in choice and variety and continued beef production subject to market demands. Burgers are well represented in Minnesota culture. Hamburger Helper makes a great meal.

      I’ve looked at crop rotations and found that theory is much cleaner than practice with variable weather from year to year. It’s not unusual to go corn every other year in Western Minnesota and other Corn throughput areas. Some day if I am fortunate, I’ll see a Corn every 3rd year rotation on a quarter section with cover crops in 2 out 3 years. That will yield (so the accountant’s theory goes) less Corn and Soybeans and more Wheat. At that point the grain distribution system will take over send the crops somewhere to be consumed. The benefits of a 3 crop rotation are claimed to be better carbon soil sequestration, less inputs, less run off and better long term soil health which can impact watersheds and the list is longer. It is also a hedge away from the monolithic Corn/Soybean rotation. Can we count on support from the Hippie wing? Perhaps.

      I’ll spitball a bit more, Because of global warming the corn and soybean belts with move North displacing wheat. The now you see me, now you don’t, mind trick is to move the wheat growing back to Southwest Minnesota and improve our land long term. Out wheat the North Dakotans.

  27. “Producing grass-finished beef in large volumes is difficult in North America where few regions have the growing season to make it possible. Most grass-finished beef is imported from Australia and New Zealand where grass is in greater abundance than feed corn and grows year-round.” https://www.beefboard.org/news/files/factsheets/grass-finished-beef.pdf

    Although the article was about America’s shifting preference from beef to chicken – we seem to have been diverted to McDonalds. Beef consumption in the US has been declining since the 1970’s despite your extensive corn subsidies. And McDonalds may not be the height of the epicure experience.

    The Cattlemen’s Beef Board fact sheet provides useful background. To get the flavor of grass-finished versus grain-finished beef you need to consult an epicure.

    “Grass-finished beef is often described as having a distinctively different taste from grain-finished (“meatier,” “intense,” “purer,” “gamy,” “more mineral” are some of the more common descriptors). The Cattlemen’s Beef Board cites a series of taste panels conducted by the University of Nebraska–Lincoln in which consumers rated domestic grain-finished beef significantly higher than Australian grass-finished beef for flavor and tenderness. However, those who preferred the grass-finished beef were willing to pay more for it.” https://www.tenderfilet.com/articles/Grass-fed-vs-Corn-fed-Beef-Whats-the-Difference

    Cooking facilitated the evolution of big brains and refined facial features that allowed the development of language.
    It is a critical element in the evolution of modern humans. The palatability of different meats depends on the cooking method. I know a little something about it. Low fat grass finished beef is better with high heat and rapid searing – if you are frying or grilling. For thicker cuts try slow cooking in an oven on a rack before pan searing. Salt, pepper and oil is all that is strictly required but spices change the experience.

    I have read that an acre of corn provides 15 million calories per year – 3 million when converted to beef. Whether this land can be converted to higher value food crops is a question that is never addressed. But the source of chicken feed is commonly a waste that is converted to high quality protein. The premise of the article fails.

    The question of restoration of grazing lands is much more to the point. As shown in the USDA graph I provided. But carbon sequestration is just one aspect of the advances happening in modern agriculture.

    e.g. http://er.uwpress.org/content/32/4/352

    In the words of the Rain Crow Ranch – we grow grass and not beef.

    • Let’s include a sales pitch.

      “Aussie Beef is produced naturally in a land of abundant natural pasture lands, and we’re recognized for our grassfed beef. MLA also produces high-quality conventional beef, including flavorful wagyu beef, providing a range of options for every taste. Served as juicy grilled steaks, a tender roast or your own special creation, Aussie Beef helps put delicious, craveable meals on your family table all year long…

      Not all beef is the same, and it doesn’t cook the same either! Grassfed beef, like the kind from Down Under, is naturally leaner, and as a result cooks about 30% faster with most techniques. If you’re used to cooking conventional beef, use a meat thermometer to check for doneness on your Aussie grassfed beef, and expect quicker results. Choose the cut of beef that best matches your recipe and cooking technique and away you go!” Aussie Beef and Lamb

    • The height is restaurants like my friend’s, which are 5-star. He won a James Beard award. He serves corn-fed beef and corn-fed buffalo, never frozen. Very little chicken. His beef does not come from Australia.

      the big money steaks

      • I recently heard the expression – often wrong hilariously dogmatic. Mostly irrelevant, self aggrandizing personal anecdotes in the case of JCH.

        We do of course supply wagyu beef to Japan at high prices – and more beef in general since they increased tariffs on US imports. But if you want fatty meat – we are happy to oblige. And yet more in prospect as a result of the Pacific Rim trade agreement agreed to last week. Everyone but the US I’m afraid. So sorry.

        Our beef has the best farm to plate quality assurance system ever.

        https://www.mla.com.au/marketing-beef-and-lamb/meat-standards-australia/

        But the article is still not about beef as such – but the the decline of US beef and the growth of chicken consumption. And the mooted climate and food security effects. The merits of grass or grain fed beef is not on topic at all.

      • Censor this:

        The La Niña withers.

      • Much more interested in the longer term.

        And in physical mechanisms.

        Not so much ENSO models that are all over the place, no better than a random walk after 3 months and that cannot penetrate the spring predictability barrier.

  28. “Some Viking settlements in Greenland are still burried under ice since the ending of the MWP. If using Greenland as a gauge sea levels had to be same or higher then now. Also lots of MWP artifacts appearing a ice edges in N Hem in last 8 or so years.”

    Does anyone have the correct link to this article?

    • Don Bishop: –

      • This is not Greenland, nor is it skis from Vikings. Oppland County is in Norway and these items are found 2000 meters above sea level and stem from a cold period before MWP. I have several times heard this rumor that artifacts from the Norse settlements on Greenland from around 1200 until they disappeared – vel nobody knows for sure when – still is emerging from the melting Greenland ice. I have not seen any first hand report or scientific papers that support this claim.

  29. Sea level change contributions from the Greenland and Antarctica ice sheets

    Abstract. Thirteen years of GRACE data provide an excellent picture of the current mass changes of Greenland and Antarctica, with mass loss in the GRACE period 2002-15 amounting to 265±25 GT/yr for Greenland (including peripheral ice caps), and 95±50 GT/year for Antarctica, corresponding to 0.72 mm/year and 0.26 mm/year average global sea level change. A significant acceleration in mass loss rate is found, especially for Antarctica, while Greenland mass loss, after a corresponding acceleration period, and a record mass loss in the summer of 2012, has seen a slight decrease in short-term mass loss trend. The yearly mass balance estimates, based on pointmass inversion methods, have relatively large errors, both due to uncertainties in the glacial isostatic adjustment (GIA) processes, especially for Antarctica, leakage from unmodelled ocean mass changes, and (for Greenland) difficulties in separating mass signals from the Greenland ice sheet and the adjacent Canadian ice caps. The limited resolution of GRACE affects the uncertainty of total mass loss to a smaller degree; we illustrate the “real” sources of mass changes by including satellite altimetry elevation change results in a joint inversion with GRACE, showing that mass change occurs primarily associated with major outlet glaciers, as well as a narrow coastal band. For Antarctica the primary changes are associated with the major outlet glaciers in West Antarctica (Pine Island and Thwaites glacier systems), as well as on the Antarctic Peninsula, where major glacier accelerations have been observed after the 2002 collapse of the Larsen B Ice Shelf.

  30. Pingback: Groenlandia, molto più sole che aumento della temperatura : Attività Solare ( Solar Activity )

  31. My skeptical video research has been published here:
    http://www.cfact.org/2018/02/07/1000-videos-skeptical-of-climate-alarmism/